Most companies think they have a handle on managing SaaS spend. The truth is that cloud adoption is still largely obscured from IT and it is likely that you’re only partially aware of your total SaaS spend.
For example, a user might charge a Slack subscription to their personal credit card yet wait a month or more to submit it for reimbursement. By the time the Slack subscription is seen in your finance system, significant charges may have accrued.
This example is not uncommon: a BetterCloud poll found that “74% of end users either don’t ask or only sometimes ask IT before they install a new SaaS application.”
To manage SaaS spend, the first step is to discover the full extent of your subscriptions.
How SaaS subscriptions are hidden from your reporting
Here are a few common ways that SaaS subscriptions can be hidden from your company:
- Employees charge subscriptions to their personal credit cards and then wait to expense them
- Employees in different departments or geographies create multiple subscriptions for the same app
- Employees sign up for free trials, which do not show up on financial reports, leaving you unable to plan for their activation
- Employees upgrade to higher levels of service or storage capacity, and you have no visibility into these changes until after the fact
- Merged or acquired companies bring their own SaaS applications, often duplicating a wide variety of apps already in use
- Unknown free accounts lead to penalties and audit exposure if subscriptions total more than paid seats
How to find hidden SaaS subscription costs
Here are a few ways to manually discover SaaS spend:
- Scan financial systems, expense reports and accounting reports for SaaS line items
- Search for apps listed in the dashboard of your SSO (single sign-on) platform
- Use the admin interface for G Suite or Office 365 to examine each user’s subscriptions
- Ask or survey fellow team members to find out which apps they use
- Ask the InfoSec team if they see any unexpected applications (but know that they are more focused on finding data leaks, invalid access attempts, etc.)
While these manual methods may work, they also take considerable time and could still leave SaaS spend undiscovered.Another way to find SaaS subscriptions is to use Alpin, which instantly discovers thousands of SaaS apps and could help you to cut unnecessary spend by up to 30%. When you sign up with Alpin, we’ll ask for permission to connect to your G suite or Office 365 system, and then within minutes you’ll see a comprehensive report listing all users, permissions, SaaS subscription costs.
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